Background: Approximately one in 10 adolescents have limitations of activity from chronic disease or disability. Self management of chronic disease is increasingly recommended in adults, but there has been remarkably little discussion of its application in adolescents. Evidence suggests better outcomes for patients who are able to self manage their disease.
Objective: This article outlines some of the challenges associated with working with adolescents with chronic disease. Self management is discussed, focusing on how it can inform clinical strategies with both the adolescent and their parents.
Discussion: The developmental challenges faced by adolescents with chronic conditions, and their parents, are common across disease categories. Clinicians are required to concurrently support the adolescent's emerging capacity for self management while simultaneously supporting parents to take on a different role in relationship to their child's health care. General practitioners are ideally placed to assist adolescents to engage in developmentally appropriate self management practices.